Saturday, June 3, 2017

Why are these men smiling?

   Call it the Global 
   Spring. All that's 
   left are peoples

Donald Tusk
  President of the EU
Le Kiang
  Premier of the PRC
June 2, 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

Having to stop a government

Not since that invasion,
announced histrionically
as not an invasion, of
Cambodia in 1970, have
Americans felt so close
to their natural obliga-
tion to set aside the
government purporting
to act for them. Their
sense of this would re-
quire another 4 years,
ultimately, to be vin-
dicated in connection
with a violation of an 
office of politicians.

How ironically close
to mockery, the facts
must sound, today. And
they are.

          Coldly the sun shone down on the moonlit scene.
          Our committee stirred uneasily in its sleep.
          Better not know too much too soon all about it.
          The knees of grammar and syntax touched each other,
          Furtive in pleasure under the oaken table.

          The river lay not moving under the light
          Of the shadowy earthly winter lunar scene.
          The ends of justice are determined in
          The conditions of our sleep. The spellbound scene
          Arranged itself in a traditional way.

          Transfixed and perfectly still. Unspoken agreements
          Spoke volumes on the bookshelves of the room.

We know the scent of stir-
ring from a slumber fed
by loyalty and trust; the
thirst for honest stories
heaves a warm, extracted 
must of provenance, reborn.


This posting was prepared be-
fore the government announced
its withdrawal of the United
States from co-operation with
what has come to be called,
the Paris Accord on Climate;
and the point of view given
above is based on vastly more
than policy distinctions. But
the day will come, and may it
be soon, when the government's
act toward that Accord pales,
utterly, beneath the tone and
texture of its pathetically de-
ranged arguments and excuses,
flooded with complexes of per-
secution, victimhood, tribal
piety and remorseless vengeance.
Our generation was not living,
when Hitler announced his with-
drawal from the Treaty of Ver-
sailles, but that pathology we
have all been raised to recog-
nize, is grotesquely projected
as patriotism by this government.
It is not well, it does not mean
well, and it can not bode well.

David Ferry
Of No Country I Know
    Dwelling Places
      The Committee
University of Chicago Press, 1999©

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Narcissistic foreplay

Don't we all just love it:
the American President's re-
ite (last exhibited by his
Manila), is being brought
to bear upon his oft-bruited
promise of a grand decision,
with characteristic decisive-
ness, regarding his African-
American predecessor's sig-
nal foreign policy triumph.

Like all such benchmarks of
sobriety and progress, he
thrills in protracting an
animus without, in the event,
achieving quite the shred-
ding that he promises his
interesting adherents. Will
now, on their behalf, they've
lacked since his investiture?

He's given himself a toy he
must break, called suspense.
But will he lose his racial
bogeyman, by unwonted deed?
And without that trusted pet,
would he not stand alone?

Nick Mutolo

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Origins of Wednesday li: Displacements, ubiquitous

Ghoulish humor in particular
provided ways of starting to
assimilate the enormity of
what was happening without
fully accepting it as fact.
With flippant remarks, peo-
ple could try to displace
fact into the realm of the
absurd, without quite dis-
pelling their own profound

As a proud result of his incontinent
tour of Wahabi palaces and European
councils, the American President's
conduct abroad has resulted in his
nation's summary dismissal from the
Atlantic alliance of which it was a
founding architect, in his own life-
time. Two generations of prodigious,
if not prodigal sacrifice, pissed a-
way by blandishments of blackmail no
one was buying, a reversal of rôles
so diametric as to vindicate Hegel.
His art of the dull, that pulp comic,
has been exposed for what it is: o-
verreaching, untrustworthy, and bank-
rupt to the vacant core of its being.
Elsewhere, from the conservation of
the planet to the guardianship of dig-
nity, itself, his torch of vengeance
on life's worth ignites its inferno.

Now we have a sitcom to which human-
ity has turned to make light of the
facts of abysmal rot at the pinnacle
of the American government. Boys are
joking in their showers, of how many
aliens we have rendered into soap, as
the stench of shame gushing from the
White House drenches every nostril in
these borders. The people fervently
only to find how meaningless we are.

This cannot go on, the PTA of the
media say, and will stop as soon
as the Republicans have bled the
Treasury dry for their donors. No
one who's read his Tacitus is buy-
ing into that, until the gorging
horde have raped this House apart,
and fed their priests our hearts.
By the time we're given an elec-
tion, they will welcome us to it.

Nicholas Stargardt
The German War
  The Shared Secret
The Bodley Head, 2015©

Monday, May 29, 2017

Remembering correspondences

  About untidiness. The stage 
  I object to is when a room 
  gets so untidy that one can't 
  find where anything is. I 
  don't mind things getting out 
  of place and dusty, as long as 
  I can find them as soon as 
  want them. I don't believe 
  chaos begins until things get 
  I feel more and more strongly
  that I oughtn't to be doing his-
  tory: I really begin to regret 
  not having taken up English.
  It seems to be the only subject
  which gives you a chance to do a
  good deal of thinking on your 

Surely in either subject all one can do is to react originally. I mean when you were quite a small boy & I asked you what you were thinking about & you said - 'Whether Cromwell was really sincere' or that you were wondering what Napoleon could have done for France, if he'd cared more about France than himself ..

John Cornford's correspondence
with his mother while a school-
boy in Buckinghamshire, at 
Stowe, led to his taking First
Class honors in History and an
unforgettable career in Spain
as a soldier poet, where his
death at 21 in 1936 occurred 
on his birthday. His essay on
what was wrong with the teach-
ing of history at Cambridge
is the tale of how it was lost -
an objectionable untidiness.

                  All last night we lay so close,
                  All completeness of the heart
                  The restless future will efface -
                  Tomorrow night we sleep apart.
                  The eyeless shutter clamping out,
                  Dear, the certainty of your touch;
                  All the warmth and all the light -
                  Oh don't think, it hurts too much.
                  Though your nerves are frozen numb
                  Your sorrow will not make time stop,
                  You're not a statue but a man;
                  Oh don't grieve, it doesn't help.

While we're hung up still with
Cromwell, and whether he's sin-
cere, this is not the recurring
untidiness which a false sense
of history familiarly suggests.
Its a lingering one, how it was

John Cornford
  and Frances Cornford

John Cornford
A Happy New Year

Understand the Weapon,
  Understand the Wound: 
Collected Writings
Carcanet Press, 1976©

iv  Lee Yong Kun, undated

vi  John Cornford, undated